S4E4: Community Colleges: A Hidden Gem

Doug McKenna |
August 16, 2021
  • For the Record
  • Transfer and Articulation
  • community college
  • community college transfer

Community Colleges: A Hidden Gem

Community colleges play a vital role in the higher education ecosystem. With more than 6.8 million students enrolled in for-credit classes, four-year institutions can and should be partnering with community colleges to help students succeed in achieving their educational goals. In this episode we talk to Barbara Hopkins and Jen Nelson, both of Northern Virginia Community College, about the benefits of community colleges, the student experience, ways four-years can partner to assist with student success, and what it’s like to work at a community college.

This is the first in what will be a series of episodes focused on the community college experience, the transfer experience, reverse transfer, and ways registrars can be involved in these processes.

Barbara Hopkins, Interim Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs
Northern Virginia Community College

Jen Nelson, Coordinator of University Transfer & Initiatives and Chief Transfer Officer
Northern Virginia Community College

Key Takeaways:

  • Community colleges of today offer significantly more than “your grandfather’s community college” in the way of student academic support services, athletics, clubs, and other activities and resources.
  • Community colleges are a hidden gem in higher education because they provide so much flexibility with the way they offer courses and the way they enable students to explore academic interests without incurring enormous amounts of debt.
  • Students attending community colleges with the intention of transferring to a four-year institution should be in touch early and often with academic support services at both the community college and the intended transfer school. Four-year schools should partner with community colleges to make sure that information about admission requirements and program pathways is readily available, up-to-date, and easy to find.

References and Additional Information:
ADVANCE - Partnership between George Mason University and Northern Virginia Community College
American Association of Community Colleges
AACRAO Signature Initiative - Re-Envisioning Transfer
AACRAO - Transfer & Articulation